Evangelism is not so much the moving of our lips, but an exercise of our heart.
Sharing the message of Christ with others can become terrifying because people tend to focus on what comes out of their lips. People are deathly afraid of standing up before others and make a speech. Next to death, it’s typically the second most feared activity expressed in opinion polls. Public speaking is even more fearful than snakes and spiders. Perhaps the cause of our fears is that we either don’t want to make a fool of ourselves by saying the wrong things or we fear what a person might think of us. The risk is too great. We take the safe route and say nothing. Sure, sharing the Word of Christ requires the movement of lips, but there is so much more to the picture.
The Bible says that out of the overflow of our heart, our mouth speaks. So, sharing Christ really starts with the heart. It’s the main source of our communication. Yet, our heart is not just connected to our lips. The communication process also involves our eyes and ears. We listen and become attune to a person’s needs. We see and discover people for where and who they are. Our mouth speaks the words that our eyes see, our ears hear, and our heart loves. Working all of these together, we use all of what God gives us to speak the truth in love.
“There is hope for new success in evangelism if today’s believers will learn to listen before they speak, if we will learn to hear the questions contemporary culture is putting to us.” (Jerry Harvill)
I was speaking before a large group of people in Texas and met a seventy year old retired pastor. The previous night he was in Austin to be a part of the thousands of people who were there to audition for the popular talent contest on television called “The X Factor”. He wasn’t there for the music, but he was there to observe the culture. He came out of his comfort zone and interests to learn, to observe and to listen. From that experience, he knows that when he is granted those unique opportunities to communicate a message of God’s Word to a younger generation, he will have a better understanding of how to communicate with them. The fact that he went to those auditions builds a bridge of appreciation, knowledge and understanding.
That is a part of evangelism.
That is an example of becoming all things to all people, so that we might save some. Evangelism is not so much the moving of our lips, but an exercise of our heart.